pretty, happy, funny, real...lily jane's baptismal gown

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

So this is my first pretty, happy, funny, real installment that will center around one project. About six weeks ago a sweet friend of mine asked if I would be able to make her daughter Lily Jane's baptismal gown. I was so flattered that she would ask. I have made several gowns over the years and consider it a privilege to sew such a special garment for a family. 

This time there was a twist. Carly wanted me to make the gown using her mother's wedding dress from 1969. Yikes! This is not something I have done before but I knew I had several weeks so I thought I would give it a shot. If I got in over my head, I have several friends who are incredible seamstresses, that I hoped would save me

Are you ready?? There are a ton of we go...


The underdress fabric is made of a polyester/cotton mix with individual pieces of lace netting tacked unto an overlay of a gossamer type fabric. I was a wee bit intimidated to cut it apart, so I just stared at it for a few days before I had the courage to even approach it.

I used McCalls M4865 as the pattern for the baptismal gown.

The dress was beaded with little teeny tiny seed pearls all over, so I had to make sure they were placed properly so I didn't sew over them. I made sure I laid the pattern pieces out about 15 different  times before I actually cut it, then said a prayer to St. Anne when I did!

I left the skirt intact since the bottom of the baptismal gown was a straight skirt. So I measured up from the bottom and just cut it straight across and serged it. I decided the bodice of the wedding gown would be the foundation of the sleeves and bodice of the baptismal gown.


So after I cut the wedding dress  bodice apart, I placed the pattern pieces on the lace netting then cut the same piece out of a solid piece of off white cotton. I needed to build up the fabric so that it could be cleaned and stand up to more than one baptism.

All the pieces for the sleeves and the front of the gown fit onto the lace from the front of the wedding dress bodice which was exciting! When I moved to working on the back, I cut into the shoulders and was less than thrilled when the lace fell apart into little pieces. I may have had a slight panic attack at that point and I may have indulged in an adult beverage before I approached the problem once more.

In the end I used the whole pieces of lace for the sleeves, and front of the baptismal gown bodice. I kept the back of the bodice plain without lace since there would be buttons and button holes and I would have had to piece the lace on by hand.


You can't quite see it in this picture, but when I made the bodice, I used a beaded section for the front of the gown. When I was done it looked like a smile in tiny pearls. It made me laugh...totally unintentional but it fits Lily Jane's temperament perfectly. She is one big smile!

As I was completing the hand stitching on the sleeves, I kept thinking about Miss Lily Jane. She is six months old and quite the little butterball. I prayed the entire time that the sleeve would fit her sweet little sausage arms. I just imagined her Mama trying to put her in the dress the morning of the baptism and the sleeves not fitting. Disaster! I once again invoked St Anne to be beside me on this one. 


After I had finished all the hand sewing, I hung up the dress and was shocked to see the bottom edge of lace fraying. AHHH!! I got out my sharpest little scissors and trimmed the entire bottom of the dress. I am happy to say it worked and the edges looked very clean and finished. Thank you Lord!

My first try at hand embroidery in a very long time. It wasn't perfect but it wasn't horrid either. If it's used again there is plenty of room for the next little ones name to be embroidered.

Now for the big finish...

TA DA!!!!

Miss Lily Jane Zook and her Mama and Papa. She has the most expressive face known to mankind. She was so good for the baptism. 

Here Miss Lily is ready to fist pump Fr. Stefan. I just love the look her Papa gives her Mama. So much love in this new family. Jerry and I were Pat and Carly's Marriage Mentor's before they got married. We worked in tandem with them for six months prior to their wedding and have been so privileged to have them in our lives. Miss Lily is a BONUS!!

Here we are outside the church at our Grotto built in 1863. Such a beautiful day in the midst of all the insanity we've been dealing with with Miss Courtney's health. It was a moment in time I will never forget. The little ones always make me smile. 

Thanks Pat and Carly for including us in Miss Lily's special day!

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